A HEFTY share fall for blue-chip insurer Aviva failed to hold back the rally on London’s FTSE 100 Index as cheery US jobs data boosted sentiment.
The life and pensions firm nosedived 13%, wiping around £1.5 billion off its market value, after new chief executive Mark Wilson announced a 44% cut in its full-year dividend to 9p a share.
But figures showing a fall in claims for unemployment benefits in America helped the wider FTSE 100 maintain its recent ascent to close 11.5 points higher at 6439.2.
The jobs figures ensured another positive session on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average made further advances, up nearly 50 points in early trading after closing at a new record high last night.
Meanwhile the pound recovered having earlier slipped below $1.50 amid fears the Bank of England would push the button on more quantitative easing.
In what is likely to have been a close decision, the Monetary Policy Committee opted to leave the QE programme at £375bn and interest rates at 0.5%, prompting a modest recovery in the pound above $1.50, although it remained 0.8% lower at 1.15 euros.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Aggreko ahead 181p at 1939p, IMI up 57p to 1319p, Meggitt 14p higher at 490.1p and Schroders up 50p to 2086p.
The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Aviva down 45p to 314.8p, BSkyB off 22p to 866.5p, Polymetal International down 24p to 951.5p and Lloyds Banking Group 1.2p lower at 49.9p.